NorthwestFootball.net Power Rankings: Week 1

Football has arrived, my friends! Well, preseason football anyway, which isn't nearly as exciting as it seems. As my friend Rich explains it – "preseason football is like craving chocolate, finding a delicious chocolate bar, taking a big ol' bite only to discover that it's that carob crap. You're all into it and excited until you actually try to enjoy it." 

I find this quote endlessly amusing, due in no small part to the fact that he's an Eagles fan, and could easily apply this quote to his team's latest acquisition.  Actually, there's tons of good news about the Michael Vick signing, for of us who enjoy general mayhem.  For instance, it's a stone cold lock that Vick gets pelted with Milkbones the first time he steps onto the turf at The Linc.  The guy who plays music at Giants Stadium is dusting off "Atomic Dog" and "Who Let Dogs Out" as we speak.  And I can only imagine what custom jerseys are being printed in the greater Washington metro area right now.    

In other news, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has returned to ruin yet another team's December.  I don't know what Jedi mind trick was played on the Minnesota front office to make them forget how 2008 ended for the Jets, but only the future tragedies in Denver and Kansas City will prevent the Vikings from taking home the Worst Front Office 2009 trophy this winter.  Speaking of the AFC West, is there any team sitting as pretty as the San Diego Chargers right now?  They play six games this year against two teams in shambles and the Raiders, who have taken administrative idiocy to new heights by suspending and breaking the jaw of the only coach on the sidelines who appears to care about winning and losing.

And on that note, let's move on to the first edition of the 2009 NorthwestFootball.Net Power Rankings!

  Team Commentary
1 Pittsburgh Steelers The Super Bowl Champions return on the verge of a Dynasty without significant changes from last year.
2 Arizona Cardinals Arizona returns as the NFC's heir apparent, but with some significant questions, not the least of which is will the youth movement in the backfield translate to production?
3 Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles fixed most of their problems in the offseason, made some tough decisions regarding veterans and have emerged as legit contenders who will be dangerous because their QB knows his window may only be open for this season.
4 New England Patriots I've been suspicious of New England's defense for several years now and they keep proving me wrong.  Must be that Belicheck "competitive edge" …
5 Indianapolis Colts New coach, new system, same Peyton.  
6 New York Giants The Giants had everyone in training camp on Day One, the players who used to whine to the press about Coughlin being too tough are now all in broadcast booths and their QB who led them to two Super Bowls is a Giant for life.  Life is good in the Swamps of Jersey.
7 Baltimore Ravens Baltimore was better last year than many folks, myself included, gave them credit for.  It will be interesting to see if the defense continues to excel without Rex Ryan at the helm.
8 San Diego Chargers The Bolts will come charging out of the gate once again, only this year with a major chip on their collective shoulders as they try to prove that last year's 8-8 record was an aberration.
9 Atlanta Falcons The Falcons have all of the pieces for deep run this year, if Matt Ryan can avoid a sophmore slump.
10 New Orleans Saints The offense will continue to be spectacular, yet the defense will still try to cram square pegs into round holes.
11 Carolina Panthers As long the Cats stick to the ground attack, they'll compete with anybody.  Fortunately, they've got a very stout running game.
12 Tennessee Titans Kerry Collins is another year older, and he doesn't have a true number one WR to throw to.  The line play on both sides of the ball will help balance that out somewhat.
13 Chicago Bears I'm not sold on Jay Cutler as an elite NFL QB and with nary a number one WR to throw to, I'm not seeing him as the difference maker many pundits seem to believe that he is.
14 Minnesota Vikings I'm still mystified as to why the Vikings didn't grab Jeff Garcia this offseason instead of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
15 Seattle Seahawks The Seahawks were completely decimated by injuries last year.  How well some of the key veterans recover (Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, Patrick Kearney) will determine the team's fate this season.
16 New York Jets New York always starts strong, so they're ranked a bit higher than one might think.  Don't worry, the annual December Swoon will send them back down the pecking order.
17 Miami Dolphins The Dolphins aren't going to take anyone by surprise this year and their schedule is brutal.
18 Green Bay Packers Green Bay joins a plethora of teams hopping on the 3-4 bandwagon.  Unlike most, they might actually have the personnel to pull it off.
19 Dallas Cowboys Hootie and Blowfish and Alanis Morrissette were superstars the last time the Cowboys won a playoff game. They'll be hard pressed to even qualify for the postseason this year.
20 Houston Texans Houston always seems to be on the verge of a breakout year and always seems to settle into mediocrity.  
21 Washington Redskins Every year the Redskins look good on paper and every year they underperform.  I'm not moving them up in the rankings until they prove themselves on the field.
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay has admitted they are rebuilding, yet have a decent core to build around.  They should prove to be a dangerous opponent this year for teams who dare look past them on the schedule.
23 Buffalo Bills I'm going to resist the temptation to talk about T.O. here and … oh, crap.
24 Jacksonville Jaguars The Jags have made good moves this offseason, but it will take time for all of them to gel.  The offensive line will need to pull together bigtime in order to give Jacksonville a shot.
25 Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati might be able to claw out of the lower reaches of the AFC this year -- if Carson Palmer can stay healthy, which is a risky proposition at best.
26 Denver Broncos Fired future Hall of Fame head coach?  Check.  Traded away young stud quarterback?  Check.  Traded away next year's first round pick?  Check.  All the pieces are in place for an epic disaster.
27 Cleveland Browns Cleveland still has major holes to fill and has to play two playoff caliber teams twice which will contribute to an under .500 season.
28 St. Louis Rams The Rams are finally rebuilding the Oline and that should help as the season progresses.  They are still sorting things out right now, though.
29 Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City seems to feel that changing their scheme to the 3-4 will fix a horrifically bad unit from last year.  We have saying for that -- you can't polish a turd.
30 Oakland Raiders Oakland showed signs of life last year after several years as the punch line/punching bag of the NFL.  They're still the punch line due to Weird Al's Draft Day Shenanigans, but at least they'll be competitive in a few games this year.
31 San Francisco 49ers With glaring weaknesses all over the place and locker room antics galore, perhaps drafting a prima donna WR in the first round wasn't the best move.
32 Detroit Lions Detroit will win a few this year, but not enough for anyone to take them seriously.

Dylan Johnson is a Seahawks Fan trapped in the heart of Eagles Country.  When he's not watching or writing about the Seahawks, he can be found cultivating his inner Keith Moon.  You can reach him here.


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